Electroplating: Improving The Environmental Performance Of The Car Industry

Summary. Metal finishes manufacturers have significantly advanced electroplating in the automobile industry. Over the past two decades, they’ve enhanced vehicle longevity, boosted fuel efficiency, and improved manufacturing. At the same time, the industry has reduced its environmental impact.


Over the last two decades, the metal finishing industry has seen significant advancements. In particular, the electroplating sector has enabled automobile manufacturers to enhance their product offering. In addition, while improving their overall environmental footprint.

Longer Lifespan

Corrosion resistant coatings have improved almost tenfold over the last 20 years. Today electroplated zinc nickel coatings are offering over 1000 hours corrosion resistance in an industry standard salt spray test. Therefore, components that are subject to the weather, both under the car and under the bonnet, will not rust for many years. Similar advances have taken place in the bodywork paint finishes. This ensures we do not see rusty body panels and peeling paint. The overall effect of this is that owners will be able to enjoy their cars for a much longer period.

Extended Warranties

Another benefit of delaying the onset of corrosion is that it makes it possible to repair large subassemblies. In past years if, for example, a power steering system broke down, chances were that the nuts and bolts holding it together would be so rusty it could not be disassembled and repaired and would have to be replaced completely. Today that is not the case, these assemblies can disassembled and repaired. Consequently, automotive manufacturers have been able to extend their warranties (many are now up to 7 years) making the cost of ownership lower and more predictable.

Improved Fuel Consumption.

With the use of these improved metal finishes manufacturers have been able to use thinner gauge materials thanks to the properties of these coating. Thinner gauge has meant lower weight and hence improved fuel efficiency and less effect on the environment.

Increased Manufacturing Efficiency

Most major automotive manufacturers use robot assembly lines. These rely on the components meeting the robots pre-set requirements, in particular the fasteners used to assemble the car. These fasteners must have a specific coefficient of friction. When the robot uses them, they need to tighten to the correct torque. If they don’t, the robot will stop the line. By electroplating the fasteners and applying a torque-controlling top coat, we ensure these fasteners meet the robot’s pre-programmed requirements, keeping the line running.

End Of Life

When the vehicle does finally come to the end of its useful life, the electroplating industry has again a role to play in its environmental impact. We ensure the coatings used are environmentally safe. This ensures no harm to the environment when cars are scrapped and materials are recycled.

In summary, by making manufacturing more efficient, cars lighter, life spans longer and recycling safer, the electroplating industry has made its contribution to improving the environmental footprint of the automobile sector.

Get In Touch Today

Whether you are a first tier supplier to the OEM market or further down the supply chain, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your electroplating requirements.

Be it short run specials, pre production samples or full production we have plant and processes to meet your requirements.  With trained operators, fully equipped laboratory and PPAP capabilities we are sure we can help.  Please contact us on 0121 236 2524.

If you enjoyed reading this blog, why not take a look at a previous one: Effects of the Electric Car Revolution On The Automotive Supply Chain